Dept of Social Development responds to Haji Mohamed Dawjee on removal of child

The Department of Social Development has noted the column and open letter written by Haji Mohamed Dawjee with regards to the removal of a child, and would like to respond as follows:

Whenever the department or any other designated child protection organisation receives a report of the maltreatment, neglect of a child, it is legally obliged to investigate, regardless of who lodges the complaint, or who the complaint is against.

In this case, the child concerned is not missing, and has not been kidnapped.

Based on a safety and risk assessment, he was removed into the temporary safe care of a caring family by a social worker, and his removal was brought before the Children’s Court for review within 48 hours as prescribed in the Children’s Act.

The mother was informed about the removal of her child, and had a consultation with the social worker on 1 June. During this consultation, she was informed of the court date scheduled for 2 June. The mother was present at the court proceedings - this information is contained in the report the writer had mentioned seeing.

During the court proceedings, the magistrate determined that a formal Children’s Court Inquiry be opened for the child and that the case be further investigated to determine whether the child should be regarded as being in need of care and protection.

The magistrate also ruled that the child concerned remain in temporary safe care pending the outcome of the Children’s Court Inquiry. All parties involved were informed of the date for the next hearing on the day.

Contrary to what the writer seems to be suggesting, the mother will not be excluded from the process, but will have the opportunity to present her side to the Children’s Court, as will any other parties with an interest in the wellbeing of the child.

The court will take all facts placed before it into consideration alongside the social worker’s report and make a final determination about the best interests of the child.

The Children’s Act requires the department, its social workers, and the Children’s Courts, to act in the best interest of the child at all times. In this case, the court may find that reunification with the mother is in her son’s best interest, or it may find that the child should be placed into foster care.

The Department cannot pre-empt the outcome of this process.

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